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What Are GMOs?

The Debate Over GMOs


         GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms is the act of altering or taking genes from one species and inserting them into another to obtain a certain trait or characteristic. GMOs are everywhere. GMO foods have been a foundation in the U.S. for more than a decade.  Most of our corn, soybean, sugar beets, and cotton cultivated in the United States today contains DNA that has been manipulated. Though common in the U.S., they are largely banned in the 28-nations European Union.  Companies use GMOs to make manufacturing cheaper, produce more food, ward off insects, and resist diseases.

The debate over GMOs pose the question whether GMOs inside foods are safe or not? Studies show that short term there are no heath effects for humans. The Food and Drug Administration recognized these foods as safe, and the World Health Organization says that there are health effects that have risen on the international market since the creation of GMOs.  Unfortunately,  these organizations don’t always provide accurate and trustworthy research. There have not been enough independent research companies who have conducted fair and objective experiments to prove GMOS’ are safe. Most people worry that humans who eat GMO foods may be more prone to allergies or diseases resistant to antibiotics.  Most of the GMO crops are used for animal feed or in common processed foods such as cookies, cereal, potato chips and salad dressing.

The most recent controversy,  GMOs are now prevalent in Iraq. Since the United States has replaced the Iraqi government the United States is now making farmers in the “Fertile Crescent” plant US seeds that have been genetically modified. The seeds from Mesopotmaia are some of the oldest seeds on earth and have evolved naturally.   The implementation of this order, which reengineers Iraq’s agriculture, is called Order81. Order81 is a US imposed patent which introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds. Under this order Iraqi farmers will be forced to buy their seeds from the corporations like Monsanto who are the biggest promoters of GMOs. GMOs will replace the old tradition of breeding closely related plants, and replace them with DNA from an altogether different species. In addition, the US and Iraq put an agreement in place which is called the company’s technology agreement (Technology User Agreements). This agreement allows the company to control farmers’ practices and conduct property investigation. The farmer essentially becomes the slave of the company and can be sued by Monsanto if they don’t use their seeds. GMOs could possibly ruin farming for Iraq.

Although GMOs may be disruptive to our health and the plants biodiversity in some instances GMOs have been found to be helpful. Recently, in  Florida the oranges were faced with a disease called “citrus greening.” The farmers attempted to scour the world to find a naturally immune tree that served as a progenitor for a crop, but this type of tree does not exist. Therefore the farmers had to turn to altering the oranges DNA and placing another gene into the orange from another species. In this instance, GMOs proved successful in saving the Florida orange.

After researching and looking closely at both sides I found that working ethically  and collectively towards the responsbile uses of GMO’s would serve our world and its people best.

What do you think?

Look at this video to learn more about what children are doing to protect our future.










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Salt & Fat: I’m back

Hi All,

I have not written in a while. School has been really busy.  I just finished my seventh grade year which was a really important year. I am now in search of the perfect high school. My revival of this blog will not only include food reviews, but I will start writing more generally about food education and what current events are happening in and around food in America.

The restaurant that I would like to share with you today is a place, in Sunnyside, Queens, that my family and I discovered over a month ago. The Restaurant we dined at was ” Salt and Fat”. Salt and Fat has a small menu, but everything on the menu was fabulous.  As we entered a cramped elongated restaurant, the hostess greeted us with a friendly smile and the one page menu.  Minutes after our waiter brought us  popcorn in little brown paper bags. Seems a bit mainstream until we taste it. I don’t want to give this savory little secret away so you will have to go visit and taste it for yourself.  We finished every kernel even the uncooked ones.  Soon after we ordered our food, the appetizers arrived. I ordered the scallops which were delectable. They were perfectly seared on both sides  and they melted in my mouth with every bite.  What an amazing dish. Another appetizer I would recommend would be the muscles. The muscles came in a delicious broth with lardons and corn on the cob. Totally unique. The broth was light and tasty. We loved the sauce so much we asked for extra bread to dip into the broth. Delicious!  My  main courses finally arrived. I ordered Arctic char. Arctic char is very similar to salmon but ,in my perspective, a bit more delicate.  The dish was paired with kale, chorizo and a brown butter sauce that complimented the fish perfectly.  My mom ordered a Korean style fried chicken for the table that was amazing. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the crispy coating was flaky and salty.  What toped off the meal was the dessert.  It was a warm rice crispy treat with marshmallow ice-cream. WOW! This restaurant is unique and fresh and a real stand out.  A true Queens gem!

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My family and I decided to go out for diner to a restaurant called La Flor in Woodside, Queens.  La Flor is one of those few Queens restaurants that is worth taking a trip to. Recently I discovered that the chef  is a supporter of Grownyc.org greenmarkets which means he is a regular customer  at the local farmers markets buying his ingredients fresh each day.  Here is the list of restaurants and chefs around the city who participate and support Grownyc.org Greenmarkets.  Check it out it is really cool!

Sorry about getting sidetracked! YIKES!

Right away we hopped into the car and off we were. Once you take a step into the restaurant and draw the curtains you feel as if you’ve walked into Mexico. Cracked ceramic tiles  line the walls, columns and tables. Copper tin plates decorate the ceiling. The owner and executive chef Viko Ortega completes the dining experience.  Try to go when he is there it makes a big difference. REALLY!

I ordered from the specials menu a wild arugula salad with Bosc pear slices and blue cheese with a light vinaigrette dressing which tasted limy and refreshing. My mom ordered the usual tinga chicken over a tostado over Julienne mango and *jicama arugula salad with a light dressing. The tinga chicken is spicy for those who don’t like too much spice Beware!  My brother ordered the blackened tilapia with a sweet sauce over corn mash potatoes with sautéed  Julienne vegetables.  He was so blown away by his meal that he felt compelled to speak to the chef himself.  That turned out well because the chef was so touched that he ordered 3 deserts to our table that were exquisite.  An almond cheesecake, a double chocolate layer mouse cake and a fruit tart were brought to our table with an amazing side of grape, papaya, *jicama compote. It was out of this world.  I forgot what my dad ordered but it was good.  OH I almost forgot my brother also ordered fried calamari with a spicy chipotle mayo which is a nice change from marinara sauce.

I definitely recommend this place and give it two thumbs up.  Call ahead to make sure chef Viko is there and take a trip.  It is SOOOO Worth it!


*Jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible root that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. Jicama has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine.Jicama has a unique flavor that lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters.  For more info on Jicama go to (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-jicama.htm)


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Entrepreneur Fair

Hello everyone!  The fair was a great success!  I am so happy to hear that everybody loved my cookies and lemonade.  Thanks Shay for your humbling comment.  And thanks to all that  took the time  to check out my blog.

As promised here are all the recipes f0r my cookies and lemonade.  If anyone would like to reproduce my cookies and lemonade just follow the recipe. If you have any questions just send me a message.

I was out tonight for a fabulous dinner with my family.  Look out for my review within the next couple of days.

Ciao for now!

Strawberry Lemonade


1/2lb.(1 1/2 cups)                          Fresh Strawberries (trimmed and halved)

1 1/2 cups (~5 lemons)                 Fresh lemon juice

1 cups                                                 Cane sugar

3 cups                                                 Cold  water

1 1/2 cups (~5 lemons)                  Fresh lemon juice

1 cup                                                    Cane sugar

3 cups                                                   Cold water

Preparation: Puree strawberries with 2 TBSP of lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then strain through fine sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Stir together strawberry puree, remaining lemon juice, sugar and water in a large pitcher until sugar is dissolved.  Taste and adjust ingredients to liking.

Blueberry lemonade


1 1/2 cups          Blueberries

1/4 cup               Fresh mint leaves

2 TBSP               Fresh chopped ginger

1/3 cup               Local Honey

2 cups                  Boiling water

1 cup                    Fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups           Cold water

Preparation:  Combine mint, ginger and honey in medium heat-resistant bowl and add boiling water.  Steep for 1-2 minutes. Strain into pitcher . Puree the blueberries with 2 TBSP’s of lemon juice and strain into the pitcher with ginger/mint infused water.  Add the rest of the lemon juice  and enough cold water to measure 4 cups total.  Taste and adjust flavors.

Scrap Cookies

2 cups             All-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp            Baking soda

1/2 tsp           Salt

3/4 cup         Unsalted butter, melted

1 cup              Packed brown sugar

1/2 cup         White sugar

1 TBSP          Vanilla extract

1                     Egg yolk

1                     Egg

2 cups           Semi-sweet chocolate chips (Hershey’s makes nut free product)

1/2-1 cup      SCRAPS (Kettle baked potato chips, pretzels, popcorn & cheese crackers) Try and stick to natural products, stay away from a lot of preservatives, trans-fats and partially hydrogenated oils.

Preparation:  Pre-heat oven to 325’F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt;   set aside.   In medium bowl cream together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.  Beat in vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in sifted ingredients with wet ingredients until just blended.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.    At this point you can also mix in your scraps by hand such as potato chips and pretzels or popcorn and cheese crackers.  Top with garnish of chips and pretzels for easy identification and bake for 15-18 minutes. ENJOY!

My latest idea was tortilla chips , a pinch of cayenne pepper and a bit of cheddar cheese.  I will let you know how it turns out!

Make up your own ideas too!  Use your wild imagination.  The sky is the limit!

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My school hosts a day just for grandparents and special friends to shadow kids during their school day to see what we are up to. My grandparents had a great day following me and my brother around.  After the day was through they offered to take us out to lunch. Being that we were in Long Island I suggested, Hunan Taste in Greenvale.  We didn’t know how to get there so I borrowed my grandmother’s I-phone, typed in Hunan Taste and instantly got directions to the restaurant.  My grandparents are always impressed that my brother and I are so resourceful with electronics.  Even though I gave it my best effort to arrive at Hunan Taste without mishap, we got lost.  No surprise there since grandma , ALWAYS, gets lost.   Finally we arrived!         When we sat down they immediately brought out crunchy homemade noodles with duck sauce…Mmmmh my favorite!   Except my grandmother thinks they are “not healthy” and hijack’s them and then nibbles on them until they are gone.  I never really realized what she was up to, but now I am on to her.   I ordered a hot and sour soup for my appetizer,Sweet and Sour chicken with vegetable fried rice for my main course and a delicate jasmine tea which was light and naturally sweet.  My brother ordered chicken and broccoli with fluffy white rice and my grandparents ordered some funky stuff that I probably wouldn’t recommend.  They had Shrimp in lobster sauce (weird and not very attractive, looked a little like vomit) and mixed steamed vegetables, BORING!!!!!   My hot and sour soup was delicious!  The perfect balance  of tofu,pork, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and spiciness.  My sweet and sour chicken was crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside with a light pineapple glaze sauce that was the perfectly blend of sweet and savory.  The sauce was nappe!  My mom taught me this word from cooking school.  When a sauce coats the back of your spoon you call it nappe.  It’s a French word used to describe perfect consistency in a sauce.  My vegetable fried rice was loaded with fresh peas, shallots, fresh corn off the cobb tossed in a  light soy sauce.  My brothers Chicken and broccoli ,of which he only shared one piece ,was excellent.  The ONE PIECE of chicken I ate was tender and moist and lightly covered in a brown glaze sauce.  The broccoli was crunchy and bright green like a Christmas tree.  It was perfect!  We had a delightful afternoon with the gramps.  The food was fantastic!  I give this restaurant 2 thumbs up and recommend it if you are ever passing through Long Island.


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The Love Muffin

In April my family and I took a family trip to Moab, Utah.  After a cool trip Mountain biking with the fam our awesome pro-mountain biker guide , Heidi,suggested we hit the “LOVE MUFFIN”.  Heidi, also a foodie, thought chilling at the Muff would be a chalaxing afternoon and the best place to eat in town.

Heidi’s suggestion hit the spot.  The first day we visited the Love Muffin we had lunch.  A bag of Sour-cream and cheddar cheese chips complimented my “Summer Love BLT” which consisted of crunchy greens, tomatoes, thick bacon, red onions , avocado and a rosemary mayo on their fresh herb focaccia.  It was a killer sandwich!

Went there the next morning after a totally cool balloon ride with the family and I had the “Skinny Omelet” which was fresh spinach, crumbly feta cheese, red onions and mushrooms wrapped in eggs with toast and their AMAZING HOT Cocoa with whip cream…YUMMY!!!!

“They are passionate about serving wholesome natural, organic, local seasonal foods”,and I am totally into that.

My mom totally loved the coffee and she’s an expert on coffee….

If you are ever West of NYC hit the LOVE MUFFIN.  I give it 2 thumbs up!!!

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Hello world!

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